Best Laptops Under $300 in 2020

In a market where flagship notebooks steal the spotlight, you may find yourself looking at laptops under $300. Our laptop experts have written this round-up review to help you find the best one for you.

Laptops were never about the high specs, but rather the balanced operation, and the sub $300 realm is rich in laptops that offer an optimized performance despite the low price.

We’re aware that you’ll get a subpar performance as your budget shrinks. That’s why it can be challenging to find the best performing laptops hiding in this budget-friendly category. We compared the 7 best laptops under $300 to see which is the overall winner for cost, features, and highest specifications.

Top Pick
ASUS ImagineBook 14″ FHD LED – Backlit Laptop
ASUS ImagineBook 14″ FHD LED – Backlit Laptop
Our Rating
9.7
  • PCIe SSD drive
  • FHD display
  • Crystal-clear speakers
  • Excellent battery life
  • FHD display
  • Great connectivity suite
Best Value
Lenovo Chromebook C340 Laptop
Lenovo Chromebook C340 Laptop
Our Rating
9
  • 2-in-1 design
  • Portable
  • Touchscreen w/ wide viewing angles
  • Longlasting battery life
  • 2 USB-C ports
IceCool Technology
ASUS L406 Thin and Light Laptop
ASUS L406 Thin and Light Laptop
Our Rating
9.5
  • Portable
  • Thin bezels
  • Longlasting Battery life
  • Fanless Cooling System

Best Laptop Under $300 – Comparison Table

ImageProductRatingPrice
Top Pick
ASUS ImagineBook 14″ FHD LED – Backlit Laptop
ASUS ImagineBook 14″ FHD LED – Backlit Laptop
  • PCIe SSD drive
  • FHD display
  • Crystal-clear speakers
  • Excellent battery life
  • FHD display
  • Great connectivity suite
9.7
Check On Amazon
IceCool Technology
ASUS L406 Thin and Light Laptop
ASUS L406 Thin and Light Laptop
  • Portable
  • Thin bezels
  • Longlasting Battery life
  • Fanless Cooling System
9.5
Check On Amazon
Best Value
Lenovo Chromebook C340 Laptop
Lenovo Chromebook C340 Laptop
  • 2-in-1 design
  • Portable
  • Touchscreen w/ wide viewing angles
  • Longlasting battery life
  • 2 USB-C ports
9
Check On Amazon
Samsung Chromebook 4 Chrome OS Laptop Samsung Chromebook 4 Chrome OS Laptop
  • Durable
  • Matte coating for blocking reflections
  • Convenient keyboard and trackpad
  • Longlasting battery life
  • USB-C
8.5
Check On Amazon
HP Chromebook 14″ Laptop HP Chromebook 14″ Laptop
  • Anti-glare display
  • HD webcam
  • Crystal-clear dual speakers sound
  • 2 multifunctional USB-C ports
  • G Suite apps
8.5
Check On Amazon
HP Stream 14 HP Stream 14″ Laptop
  • Office 365 Subscription
  • Vivid HD display
  • Web protection
  • Impressive battery life
  • Expandable storage
8
Check On Amazon
Lenovo 100E Chromebook 2nd Gen Laptop Lenovo 100E Chromebook 2nd Gen Laptop
  • Wide viewing angles
  • Durable keyboard
  • Dependable battery
  • USB-C charging
8
Check On Amazon

The 7 Best Laptops Under $300 – Reviews

Nothing is more relieving than striking a bargain without questioning how the performance will turn out. Luckily, every model on our list is a worthy purchase since it doesn’t compromise on OS updates. Now, let’s walk through the detailed expert reviews of the best laptops under $300.


1. ASUS ImagineBook 14″ FHD LED – Backlit Laptop

ProcessorIntel Core M3-8100Y, 1.1 GHz up to 3.4 GHz
RAM4 GB LPDDR4
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 615
Storage128GB PCIe SSD
Display14” FHD (1920×1080) 60 Hz IPS Panel
OSWindows 10 S
Battery Life3X longer battery life than standard Li-Ion batteries
Weight3.57 lbs

Top 3 Features


DisplaySSD StorageASUS Fast-Charge
The FHD IPS panel has decent wide viewing angles so that colors won’t get washed out when you change the vantage point. The display presents an anti-glare, matte laminate that reduces light reflections to the bare minimum.
The PCIe SSD storage connects directly to the peripherals, achieving faster read and write speeds than HDDs that need SATA cables to connect to the motherboard.

The ImagineBook promises to replenish 60% of the battery juice in an hour. Combined with its fanless approach, the battery life will thrive if you take this machine outdoors.

Simple yet sophisticated – that’s what echoed in my mind on seeing this budget laptop. It also took me a second to notice that the ImagineBook 14 packs 128 GB of SSD storage, found in high-end machines. Powered by the dual-core M3-8100Y, it utilizes 2 threads (1 for each core) that handle a plethora of tasks with a 3.4 GHz turbo boost.

One look at this entry-level powerhouse, and you’ll notice the razor-sharp FHD display. ASUS incorporates its Tru2Life technology to improve the contrast with 2 modes: a Normal mode for everyday tasks and a Vivid mode for video content.

The ImagineBook houses strong-sounding amplifiers paired with the ASUS SonicMaster technology, which involves filtering noise through delivering a pronounced bass range. Aside from audiovisuals, I like how responsive the keyboard is since it boasts improved key travel of 1.4mm.

We know how despicable it is to buy an entry-level laptop just to end up with a rattling fan. It’s thoughtful of ASUS to make a fanless laptop like the ImagineBook. Not only will it account for less noise, but it also prolongs the already longlasting battery life.

This laptop is equipped with USB 3.1 and USB 2.0 ports for external peripherals, 1 HDMI port, 1 microSD card reader, and the precious USB-C 3.1 port, the universal standard in data transfer.

Pros
  • PCIe SSD drive
  • FHD display
  • Crystal-clear speakers
  • Excellent battery life
  • FHD display
  • Great connectivity suite
Cons
  • Heats up when charging
  • No indicator for CAPS lock
Check Price on Amazon

2. Lenovo Chromebook C340 Laptop

ProcessorIntel Celeron N4000, 1.1 GHz up to 2.6 GHz
RAM4 GB LPDDR4-2400
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 600
Storage64 GB eMMC 5.1
Display11.6” HD (1366×768) 10-point Multi-Touch
Operating SystemGoogle Chrome OS
Battery LifeUp to 10 hours
Weight2.64 lbs

Top 3 Features


Touchscreen360° HingePortability
The HD touchscreen supports interactive gestures like drag-and-drop, pinch to zoom, and more.
With a 360-degree hinge, you can experiment with this transformer’s different positions, like the Theater mode for the on-screen keyboard and the Tent mode for watching movies.
The Chromebook C340 weighs a mere 2.64 lbs with dimensions smaller than that of a printing paper. Together with the 10 hours that the 42Wh battery provides, this convertible beast proposes a counterargument against delaying your tasks.

The Chromebook C340 rejuvenates the convertible form factor at the sub $300 price tag. This laptop runs on Chrome OS this time, meaning you’ll resort to Google Play Store services for apps.

With 64 GB of storage, this 2-in-1 laptop follows the trend of eMMC flash drives, which combine the improved data transfer rate of SSDs and the humble transfer lanes of HDDs. At the heart of the Chromebook C340 lies the Intel Celeron N4000, which is suitable for day-to-day tasks like web surfing.

The 11.6” HD display sounds underwhelming until you find out it boasts touchscreen support. You can intuitively keep pace with your workflow from the comfort of your fingertips. 

I really appreciate how large and clicky the keys are. Moreover, the trackpad is significantly sizable compared to its peers, and the clicks on it don’t require much pressure.

The battery promises up to 10 hours of mixed usage. On the sides, you’ll find room for 2 glorious USB-C 3.1 ports for charging and snappy data transfer, 2 USB 3.1 for peripherals, 1 microSD card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack.

Pros
  • 2-in-1 design
  • Portable
  • Touchscreen w/ wide viewing angles
  • Longlasting battery life
  • 2 USB-C ports
Cons
  • The glossy display causes eye fatigue
  • Thick bezels
Check Price on Amazon

3. ASUS L406 Thin and Light Laptop

ProcessorIntel Celeron N4000, 1.1 GHz up to 2.6 GHz
RAM4GB LPDDR4
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 600
Storage64GB eMMC
Display14” HD (1366×768) 60 Hz IPS Panel
Operating SystemWindows 10 OS
Battery LifeUp to 14 hours
Weight2.8 lbs

Top 3 Features


Quiet OperationASUS IceCool TechnologyBattery
The fanless design guarantees the L406’s immunity to dust accumulations.In addition to nonexistent noise output, it directs the power toward the tasks worth executing by the processor.
ASUS IceCool depends on thin heat pipes that surround the chassis to reduce the temperature below 36° in the area where you fix your palms.

The 56 Wh battery hits a solid 14-hour running time on a single charge. The input and output over-voltage protection comes into play to ensure that fast charging won’t damage the battery.

ASUS makes its way twice to our list with the L406. It’s worth noting that the Intel Celeron N4000, like the M3-8100Y, supports hyperthreading for a more optimized task handling. Also, you get the standard 64GB eMMC drive for storing your data.

From being 17.6mm thin to the tiny edge-to-edge bezels, the L406 is all about minimalism. Weighing 2.8 lbs, it provides hassle-free portability. I’d equate holding this laptop to carrying a hardcover textbook.

Open the lid, and you’ll be facing the 14” HD display. ASUS puts a lot of work into refining the vividity of their low-end displays through inbuilt improvements for color tones. The EyeCare mode eliminates the overemphasized blue-light levels that may damage eyesight.

The L406 doesn’t accommodate a fan. However, it incorporates a cooling system that dissipates the heat arising from prolonged palm contact with the surface.

ASUS managed to decrease the charging time by nearly 5 minutes for a 60% charge compared to an hour in the ImagineBook. Regarding the connectivity options, they’re quite humble with 2 USB Type-A ports. 1 HDMI port, 1 microSD card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack.

Pros
  • Portable
  • Thin bezels
  • Longlasting Battery life
  • Fanless
  • Cooling System
Cons
  • Heats up
  • Mediocre connectivity
Check Price on Amazon

4. Samsung Chromebook 4 Chrome OS Laptop

ProcessorIntel Celeron N4000, 1.1 GHz up to 2.6 GHz
RAM4GB LPDDR4
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 600
Storage32GB eMMC
Display11.6” HD LED (1366×768), Anti-Reflective
Operating SystemChrome OS
Battery LifeUp to 12.5 hours
Weight2.6 lbs

Top 3 Features


DurabilityUSB-CProtection
Samsung brags about the military-grade robustness of the Chromebook 4 as it’s guaranteed to withstand accidental drops.
The reversible USB-C port renders the charging cycles much safer owing to the steady power delivery.
The Chromebook 4 features an onboard multi-layered virus protection software that also keeps your data encrypted.

Before we jump into the review, pause for a moment to bow before the relentless rigidity of the Chromebook 4’s build quality, which takes little guesswork to notice due to its thick profile. Again, the Intel Celeron N4000 makes an appearance in this laptop with its 14nm-based architecture that consumes less power.

This laptop comes with a preinstalled Chrome OS. I personally like how snappy the performance on Chrome OS is, not to mention the access to Google services. Moving on to storage, the eMMC drive here is responsible for rapid data transfer and boot-up speeds.

Featuring a resolution of 1366×768, the HD panel has an anti-reflective coating to enhance the screen’s visibility by blocking sunlight.

The keyboard layout resembles that of the Chromebook C340 with extensive keys that ensure a confident keystroke. Similarly, the trackpad is smooth to touch and doesn’t compel you into digging your fingers to execute a click.

Surprisingly, the 39Wh battery yields 12.5 hours of battery life. Also, charging through USB-C is quite revolutionary at this price range. Along with that USB-C port, you’ll find 1 USB 3.0 port, a microSD card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack.

Pros
  • Durable
  • Matte coating for blocking reflections
  • Convenient keyboard and trackpad
  • Longlasting battery life
  • USB-C
Cons
  • Thick
  • No HDMI Port
Check Price on Amazon

5. HP Stream 14″ Laptop

ProcessorIntel Celeron N4000, 1.1 GHz up to 2.6 GHz
RAM4GB DDR4-2400 SDRAM
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 600
Storage64GB eMMC
Display14” HD WLED-backlit (1366×768)
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home in S Mode
Battery LifeUp to 14 hours and 15 minutes on low brightness
Weight3.17 lbs

Top 3 Features


DisplayVirus ProtectionOffice Bundle
While the resolution may not impress, the Intel GPU features anti-aliasing, rendering written text readable.
Enjoy a lifetime subscription to McAfee LiveSafe, designed to block malicious software activity.

A pinnacle of productivity, the 1-year Office 365 trial, along with 1 TB of cloud storage, is provided to keep your workflow uninterrupted.

You can consider the HP Stream 14 as a miniature workstation for basic productivity since it gives you access to the Microsoft Office ecosystem. This one also rocks the power-efficient Celeron N400 and a 64GB eMMC drive for basic multitasking and speedy boot-up.

The 14” HD panel does the job of displaying text without the annoying fuzzy edges you’ll find in most displays at this price range. Moreover, the upper bezel houses a decent HD webcam for video calls, which works as expected on a steady network connection.

This laptop is reinforced with McAfee LiveSafe for worry-free web surfing, knowing that your machine won’t be submerged with viruses. Like most laptops at the price point, the 41Wh battery won’t have you hauling around with adapters.

Fortunately, you have a microSD card reader for expandable storage. Along with that slot, you get an HDMI port, 1 USB 2.0 for peripherals, an audio jack, and 2 USB 3.1 ports for data transfer.

Pros
  • Office 365 Subscription
  • Vivid HD display
  • Web protection
  • Impressive battery life
  • Expandable storage
Cons
  • No USB-C port
  • A tad heavy
Check Price on Amazon

6. Lenovo 100E Chromebook 2nd Gen Laptop

ProcessorMediaTek 8713C, up to 2.10GHz
RAM4GB LPDDR3
GraphicsImagination GX6250
Storage32GB eMMC
Display11.6” HD (1366×768), anti-glare
Operating SystemChrome OS
Battery LifeUp to 10 hours
Weight2.7 lbs

Top 3 Features


IPS Panel180° HingeKeyboard
The Imagination GX6250 enhances the overall color stability of the already factory-calibrated HD display.
The 180-degree rotating hinge allows you to lay the 100E flat and carry on typing on the ergonomic keyboard.
The water-resistant keyboard withstands liquid spills to save you the trouble of eye-tracking the water bottle beside you.

Carrying on with the Chromebooks army, the 100E has the MediaTek 8713C processor inside this time. Although it doesn’t surpass the N4000’s performance, it offers a capable GPU. The eMMC storage helps enhance the average performance to an acceptable level.

The processor also supports hyperthreading for pulling off basic multitasking actions. For an ultra-cheap laptop, the 100E hosts an 11.6” HD display with decent viewing angles. Also, it features an anti-glare coating to undermine excessive blue-light levels.

I liked how the floating keys of the keyboard layout, allowing for more intuitive typing. The keys are also larger than usual to prevent typos in the long run. Although the processor is based on an older architecture than the N4000, it manages to hold the battery life intact and reliable.

The 100E’s connectors include a USB 3.0 port, a purposeful USB-C, an HDMI port, an audio jack, and a microSD card reader. Luckily, you can charge the 100E through the USB-C port.

Pros
  • Wide viewing angles
  • Durable keyboard
  • Dependable battery
  • USB-C charging
Cons
  • Average performance
  • USB 3.0 doesn’t support peripherals
Check Price on Amazon

7. HP Chromebook 14″ Laptop

ProcessorAMD Dual-Core A4-9120, 2.2GHz up to 2.5GHz
RAM4GB DDR4
GraphicsAMD Radeon R4 Graphics
Storage32GB eMMC
Display14” HD WLED-Backlit (1366×768)
Operating SystemChrome OS
Battery LifeUp to 9 hours and 15 minutes of mixed usage
Weight3.4 lbs

Top 3 Features


Fanless DesignConnectivityG Suite Accessiblity
The absence of a cooling fan means a noiseless operation and improved power conservation.

The 2 USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C ports leave no place for complaints—from power delivery to connecting multiple displays.

With 100GB of Google One storage, enter a whole new realm of productivity with the G Suite applications, like Google Classroom, Docs, and meetings.

Finalizing our list, the HP Chromebook 14 is one of the first AMD-powered Chromebooks with the A4-9120 chipset, introducing a better GPU than that of the N4000. Like the Lenovo 100E, this one makes up for the average performance with a fast 32GB eMMC storage.

The Radeon R4 GPU powers this fanless laptop’s 14” HD display. While nothing’s extraordinary about the panel, it’s still reinforced with an anti-glare coating to eliminate eye strain. Carved into the top bezel is the HP TrueVision webcam for video calls and online meetings.

Regarding the audio department, this laptop houses impressive dual speakers tuned by experts at B&O for an immersive soundstage. Honestly, the keyboard didn’t knock us out since the key rebound misses the springy click we’re all used to.

You can juice up the battery using the 2 mighty USB-C ports on the sides of the Chromebook 14. Moreover, the connectivity suite has room for 2 USB 2.0 and a 3.5mm audio jack.

Pros
  • Anti-glare display
  • HD webcam
  • Crystal-clear dual speakers sound
  • 2 multifunctional USB-C ports
  • G Suite apps
Cons
  • Average overall performance
  • The fanless design is subject to overheating
  • Mushy key travel
Check Price on Amazon

How to Pick a Laptop Under $300

If you’re buying a laptop on the cheap, you’d better evade making a cheesy mistake. After diving into the in-depth reviews of the 7 best laptops under $300, the time has come to arm you with the knowledge to hit the buy button with confidence.

Processor

While there may not be much to speak of regarding the RAM and GPU, the CPU definitely has a say in the overall performance at this price, and the Intel Celeron series seems to get the lion’s share in entry-level laptops.

You can compare the Intel Celeron to its competitors from AMD through the cores’ number, which corresponds to the number of “brains” in a CPU. The more cores, the better. Also, check the cache memory that aids the processor in retrieving tasks. I’d recommend opting for a processor with a 4 MB cache memory as in the N4000.

It’s a bonus to conduct a quick search for the transistors’ architecture, measured in nanometers. The less the nm, the less the laptop will consume power. Also, smaller transistors tend to bring better performance since they’ll be more of them crammed into the chipset.

Storage

You should have an idea of how the drive where you store your files operates. In laptops under $300, storage falls in 3 categories: HDD, SSD, and eMMC.

Generally, SSDs are on top of the storage drive’s food chain, offering faster read and write speeds than their HDD rivals. Moreover, the lack of moving parts in SSDs means they’re destined to last longer than HDDs. Even if they break out for some reason, they turn into read-only devices where you can merely browse or move your data.

eMMC drives are what you’ll typically find in entry-level laptops. They present a similar form factor to SSDs, but with fewer lanes to transfer data, meaning they’re snappier than HDDs, yet don’t transfer the same volume as SSDs at a time. My advice is to avoid HDDs altogether and stick to either SSDs or eMMCs.

Connectivity & Battery

You’ll regret buying a laptop with ports that are incompatible with your cables. That’s why it’s a must to look at the connectivity suite to see what ports it offers.

For instance, if you’re unhappy with the laptop’s display, you can connect a 4K monitor via HDMI or a do-it-all USB-C port since the integrated Intel GPUs support multi-display connectivity.

Moreover, USB-C ports are a blast when it comes to DisplayPort connectivity, power delivery, and data transfer. Alternatively, you can rely on USB 2.0 or 3.0 for data transfer and external peripherals like mice and keyboards. Besides, to compensate for insufficient storage space, don’t underestimate having a microSD card reader for expandable storage.

On the flip side, check the verified battery tests carried out by manufacturers to ensure that the battery will last through the day. Bear in mind that the battery capacity in watt-hours doesn’t always denote how fast a battery discharges since battery life depends on weather conditions, running tasks, and brightness levels.


Frequently Asked Questions

Should I Buy a Fanless Laptop?

If you frequently work outdoors, a fanless laptop is a great choice to avoid irritating the people surrounding you. However, it tends to heat up with extensive use even if they have heat pipes.

What Type of Panel Should I Go for in a Laptop Under $300?

PS panels prove their competence when it comes to improved contrast, wide viewing angles, and better coverage of the color gamut, which displays color tones.

Which is Better: Chrome-Powered Laptops or Windows?

It’s a matter of personal preference. I personally find Chromebooks much faster than their Windows counterparts, and they still offer a similar productivity ecosystem. Moreover, the updates roll out more quickly on Chromebooks.


Conclusion

With the 7 best laptops under $300, it turns out you don’t have to break the bank to get a competent machine! I bet the informational section has helped cut off the edge of your buying process.

In case it didn’t, I’d personally recommend the ImagineBook 14 for the on-point blend of features it offers for the price. From an FHD panel to an SSD storage, this laptop will make every aspect of your productivity tasks prominent.